Francis Batta: "We suffered two crashes, but fortunately neither Ayrton nor Christian were hurt."
The weather played a significant part in today’s two races of the 2014 World Superbike Championship at Assen today. The first race took part in dull, overcast conditions, with some damppatches on the track after rain early this morning. Seventeen laps were completed before a red flag curtailed proceedings after a bike suffered a technical problem.
Team Bimota Alstare riders Ayrton Badovini and Christian Iddon had qualified 14th and 16th, but were soon chasing a top ten place after eight laps. There were a few damp patches on the 4.542 kilometre circuit and Christian found one on lap 9. He crashed spectacularly, but fortunately escaped without injury. Ayrton continued his fight to the top ten, and was hunting down the leader of the EVO class, Nicolo Canepa, when the race was stopped.
Race two started, then was red-flagged because of the torrential rain and then followed a lengthy gap before it began again - albeit at a shorter distance of 1O laps. The long delay meant that Christian’s BB3 could make the start, so both Bimota Alstare riders were able to take to the new grid. Conditions were treacherous and, on the opening lap, Ayrton fell victim of the soaking track and crashed out. Although Christian’s BB3 had been repaired, the team didn’t have enough time to put everything back on in time and so he was forced to start without a quick shifter or traction control. It was his first wet race on a Superbike, so he took things steadily, ending 12th, after ten soaking wet laps.
Ayrton Badovini (Race 1: 11th overall, 2nd EVO class, Race 2: DNF): “I am pretty happy with my first race. At the beginning, I decided to conserve my tyres and start pushing harder about half distance. As the race wore on, I began to reel in Nicolo (Canepa) - the first rider in the EVO class. My BB3 was working better than yesterday and my strategy was working well, but then race was red-flagged with five laps left and I ended behind Nicolo.
I honestly don’t know what happened in race 2. The track was soaking wet, but I usually go well in these conditions. I had been either fastest or second fastest in today’s wet warm-up, so was quite looking forward to a wet race. One moment I was on the bike and the next moment I was on the floor! Fortunately the bike was not badly damaged and I didn't suffer any injuries either.”
Christian Iddon (Race 1: DNF, Race 2: 12th overall, 3rd EVO class): “Race 1 was going really well and I was happy how things were working out. I was in the group chasing Canepa and was looking forward to the later stage of the race and seeing if I could catch him or not. All my plans went out of the window when I hit a bit of a damp patch on the track and crashed. Strangely enough, the place where I crashed was not a place where I had been pushing hard, so I guess you can say that perhaps it was a small mistake on my part.
The team then did amazingly well to rebuild the bike in a very short time. The red flag and subsequent delay meant that I was able to make the grid, but my bike was missing a couple of things, so I chose to ride steadily, get some experience of a Superbike in the wet and just finish. It was a race of attrition, so I was relieved to cross the line after 10 difficult laps. This weekend has been a great learning curve and I now have a lot more experience and knowledge of a Superbike under my belt. I’m looking forward to the next round, learning some more and finishing higher up the standings.”
Francis Batta (Team Manager): “Conditions were very difficult today. We suffered two crashes, but fortunately neither Ayrton nor Christian were hurt - and that is the main thing. The team did a fantastic job rebuilding Christian’s bike in such a short time and he was able to start the second race. Of course, we would’ve all preferred dry conditions today, but this is Assen and rain is no stranger here. We’ve learnt a lot this weekend and our knowledge of this new bike is increasing very steadily and so I don’t think it will be too long before we are the top EVO bike. This is our goal and we will do everything we can to achieve it.”